Surrendering A Pet

Thinking About Re-Homing Your Pet?
Before you decide to give up your pet, please make sure you are away of all the possible solutions to the problems you may be experiencing:
  • For behavior issues, please see our tips & articles education section.
  • If your landlord doesn't allow pets, please check our Pet Friendly Housing community resource page.
  • If you or a family member is pregnant, read our information on preparing your pet for a baby's arrival in our tips & articles education section

Need to Surrender Your Pet to SFAHS?
Before you decide to surrender your pet to SFAHS please think through your decision thoroughly and give an honest effort to trying to solve any issues you may be experiencing. If, despite your best efforts, it is still necessary to give up your pet, we are here to help.

We want to ensure that we are able to help our community's neediest pets first and ensure space and resources for all the pets being brought to the shelter. To help every pet get the best care, we ask that you schedule an appointment with our front office counselors to determine the best options for you and your pet.

Call 605-338-4441 to schedule your appointment.
  • SFAHS helps all dogs, cats, rabbits and other small pets and birds.
  • We are not able to accept horses, livestock or farm animals.
  • We can not accept injured or abandoned wildlife. Please contact SDGFP for wildlife.

If you reach the voicemail, please leave the following information:
  • Your name
  • Phone Number
  • Your pet's name
  • Species & Breed
  • Age
  • The general reason for surrendering your pet.
A counselor will return your call to discuss available options and schedule an appointment if needed.
Please note: due to high call volumes, your call will be returned as soon as possible in the order received. Thank you for your patience.

Please be certain that your decision to surrender your pet is your final decision.
By surrendering an animal to SFAHS, you are relinquishing all rights of ownership. If you have any doubts about surrendering your pet(s) to us, please DO NOT do so.
If you have any questions, feel free to call 605-338-4441 or email us

Surrendering Process
  1. Please call 605-338-4441 to make an appointment. To make sure we are prepared for your pet's arrival and have the proper space for your pet, appointments are required for surrendering your pet. If you have multiple animals to surrender, we ask for a maximum of 4 animals to be brought in at one time from a single family, unless it consists of a litter of kittens/puppies under 6 months old.

  2. Arrive at your appointment 5 minutes early. Please bring your photo ID. All cats should be in carriers, and dogs should be leashed or in carriers. If you do not have either of those, see the front desk before bringing your pet into the lobby. There are no other required documents, but we do welcome any and all information you have on your pet including veterinary records. If you do not have the records, it is not a problem. If you're able to, please fill out the form at the bottom of this page for us to know as much information about your pet as possible. If you have multiple animals to surrender, we ask for a maximum of 4 animals to be brought in at one time from a single family, unless it consists of a litter of kittens/puppies under 6 months old.

  3. If you're able to donate, we ask for a donation to help care for the pets, but this is also not required. We generally ask for a $30 free-will donation, and $10 for each additional animal.

  4. Once you surrender your pet, we cannot give you any updates on the animal. There is a 90-day wait period before you are able to adopt from SFAHS again.

Rehoming Your Pet On Your Own
If you decide to re-home your pet on your own, please read the following:
  • If you have adopted your pet from the SFAHS, you must return them to the SFAHS per the adoption contract you signed.
  • Talk to friends, family members, coworkers, neighbors, and your veterinarian, as they may know someone who might be interested in taking over the responsibility for your pet.
  • Do not place your animal for free on the internet, as it may attract people that do not have the best interest or safety of your pet in mind. Keep in mind that by re-homing on your own, the person that takes over the responsibility for your pet is not screened at all and it is up to you to advocate for the future of your pet.
  • Make sure you do not give up your pet to any person you feel uncomfortable with or feel is untrustworthy.

Surrendering FAQ
What should I do if I am thinking of re-homing my pet?
Before you decide to rehome your pet, please contact us to talk to one of our counselors. We are here to help. Once a counselor is able to learn more about your situation, we’ll be able offer potential solutions and resources to best help you and your pet.
Do I need an appointment to surrender my pet to SFAHS?
 If, despite your best efforts, it is still necessary to give up your pet, we are here to help. We want to ensure that we are able to help our community’s neediest pets first and ensure space and resources for all the pets being brought to the shelter.  To help every pet get the best chance at a new home, we ask that you schedule an appointment with our front office. Contact us at 605-338-4441 to schedule.

If you reach the voicemail, please leave the following information: your name, phone number; your pet’s name, breed, age, and relevant medical or behavioral information; the general reason for surrendering your pet. An Admissions Counselor will return your call to discuss available options. Please note: Due to high call volumes, your call will be returned as soon as possible in the order received. Thank you for your patience.
What should I do if I am having a crisis and need to surrender my pet immediately.
If you are having an emergency or crisis, please call our front office and explain your situation. We cannot guarantee that we will be able to get you in immediately, but will do everything we can to help.
What should I bring with me to my appointment to surrender my pet?
If you have scheduled an appointment to surrender your pet, please bring the following items with you to your appointment. Bring your pet’s veterinary records if possible, medication, and any other information about him/her. Cats are especially stressed when placed in new situations, so if possible please bring a familiar bed or blanket.  All dogs must be leashed, and all cats must be in carriers. The more information we have about your pet, the easier it will be to re-home him/her. 

You will also need a photo ID.
Is there any paperwork I need to fill out to surrender my pet?
We will ask you questions about your pet's history and personality, and you will be asked to sign a contract releasing your rights over the pet. After this is signed, the pet will officially be owned by the SFAHS until they are adopted out.

After this paperwork is signed, we cannot release any information or updates about your former pet.
How much does it cost to surrender my pet?
There is no fee to surrender your pet; however, we do request a donation of at least $30 per pet to help us with the high costs of care. Additional fees may apply.
Where at the shelter do I go for my appointment to surrender my pet?
When you arrive at the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society, you will come in the front doors of the adoption center. Make sure all dogs are on leashes or in carriers. Make sure all cats are in carriers. Once inside the adoption center, check in at the front desk. 
What happens after I surrender my pet?
Animals surrendered to the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society are evaluated based on health, temperament, and personality. If the animal meets the criteria for adoption or we are able to treat health issues or address behavior concerns, the animal will be placed for adoption and there is no time limit. If an animal does not meet our criteria for adoption, we may seek other alternatives including but not limited to transfer to another shelter, behavior modification intervention, and veterinary services. If a safe and humane solution can’t be reached, the animal may be humanely euthanized. We cannot release any information about your pet once you have signed the contract relinquishing your rights to the pet. You may rest assured that your pet will be treated with kindness, dignity, and compassion.
I haven't seen my pet on the website. What happened to them?
Our website is updated in real time, Monday - Friday, to the best of our ability. If you don't see your pet on the website, don't assume the worst. There are some pets that get adopted minutes after getting on the adoption floor, so they don't even get a photo or feature on the website. Your pet also may have gone up on the weekend and been adopted immediately. 

If we were not able to place the pet up for adoption, we may have looked into other alternatives including but not limited to transfer to another shelter, behavior modification intervention, and veterinary services.

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